Monday, January 08, 2007
Please don't get wet
First visit to the ocean
Deerfield Beach, Florida, December 2006
[Click all images to embiggen]
That first trip to the beach is a big moment for our kids. As the car gets closer to the beach, the windows and sunroof are open, the music is off, and the only noise is the excited chatter from the back seats. As we crest the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, our daughter catches the first glimpse of the water and everyone cheers. A couple of short minutes later, we're parking beside the sand as the kids scramble to undo their belts and sprint toward the pounding surf.
Since it's late in the afternoon and we don't have all our swimming gear, the operative goal of this visit is to get a quick taste of the place. We repeatedly remind them to avoid getting wet. Yeah, right.
My wife and I brought them to this faraway place to allow them experiences they wouldn't otherwise have closer to home. As I wrote yesterday, we often spoke about The Experience, and felt that a quick walk along the beach would be something they'd remember.
They got wet anyway. They wore ear-to-ear smiles. They put aside their sibling rivalry for a little while and just enjoyed being kids. And my wife and I stood back a few feet and watched them drink it all in. Water evaporates and sand can be vacuumed out of the car, but moments like this don't disappear quickly.
As the sun was setting fast, we weren't there for all that long. But it was long enough to enjoy the unbridled joy of kids taking in a unique place. If we turned around now, it would have still all been worth it.
Your turn: Why is the beach such a powerful place for a child? Indeed, why is it such a powerful place for anyone regardless of age?